ByPeter Strozniak The slow economy is apparently accelerating the appeal of Internet-based collaborative commerce across all industries, according to a new research survey by Deloitte Consulting, New York. The survey found that 54% of companies surveyed said that existing economic conditions had increased the importance of collaborative commerce initiatives. John Ferreira of Deloitte Consulting says companies are looking to collaborative commerce to improve operations and competitive advantages. Although companies frequently acknowledged the importance of collaborative commerce created technical and organizational challenges, the survey also found that companies cited a number of non-technical challenges were more important and needed to be overcome before collaborative commerce could be fully realized. For example, 43% of the firms surveyed cited the ability of organizations to adapt to new models and approaches as a non-technical challenge, while 41% of the companies cited the internal resistance to change. Lack of internal skills to conduct collaborative commerce was mentioned as a challenge by 38% of the companies, while lack of incentives to encourage collaborative commerce adoption was mentioned by 20% of the firms. "In the past few years, many companies mistakenly believed that technology infrastructure was the single key element for B2B," says Ferreira. "The survey shows that companies now see the need to take a balanced, integrated approach to find the true path to rapid ROI." The survey defined collaborative commerce as companies using the Internet to work collaboratively with suppliers and customers for planning and forecasting, inventory and supply-chain management, product design and development, manufacturing, and logistics. The survey was based on responses of 356 companies representing a cross-section of major industries of all sizes from around the globe.